Polimer: Another Tamil Channel in a Cluttered Market?
A new channel, Polimer, was added on Sep.23 09 to the overcrowded market of Tamil television at a function in Chennai. The launch has several implications for the satellite channels controlled by political parties and the political families. Polimer is promoted by the Tamil Nadu Cable Operators Association, whose members (37000) have had tough times coping up with the cable wars started by channels and MSOs owned/supported by the parties in power. For one, this appears to be the first attempt in India by a cable operators association to test waters in a politically surcharged market, where launching of new television channels has been taken to ridiculous levels by the political parties and their leaders.Erecting a party flag post may seem more tedious in comparison. Ownership of television channels and MSOs by political parties portend serious threat to freedom of expression and the plurality of mediascape iin Tamil Nadu. It also remains a much contested plane of political economy of media, wherein governments in power go overboard in settling scores in the cable turf and parties in opposition miss no opportunity to set enemies against the channels and MSOs of ruling parties. On the day Polimer was launched, the cable wars in Tamil Nadu had their expressions in the protests outside the office of Sun TV and the leading MSO, SCV (Sumangali Cable Vision), owned by Maran brothers, over the alleged refusal by SCV to carry the signals of Polimer. SCV was charged by the cable operators for blocking the signals of the new channel in Chennai and several districts. Here is a story in Indian Express which narrates the “high drama” of protests by the cable operators on the day Polimer was launched. The days to come will widen the canvas where more Polimer like clones will be pitted against the big daddies of Tamil television.